“Where do these people come from?”
Today I’m guest blogger at Entertaining Stories, and we’re talking about how to develop characters. My theory? I think that the process of turning these chance-met people into characters for my novels—believable, three dimensional people who change and grow in response to the truly horrifying traumas we writers put them through—is a lot like giving birth. No, I don’t mean the Hollywood version where the heroine gives a slight wince and then in the next scene she’s got her hair and makeup done and is holding a fat, cooing, blanket-wrapped cherub.
No, my characters get the kind of birth where a parade of complete strangers is peering at your formerly private lady parts just as they achieve maximum bloating and leaking all over everything. Each stranger has an opinion about how you should proceed, none of which matters worth a damn because you’re still the one who has to push a watermelon out an opening the size of an apple. It’s a painful and personal and public and humiliating and rewarding endeavor. And the end is really just the beginning—this red, messy, wrinkled, screaming, pointy-headed little creation is still going to take a lot of time and work and love to grow into the beautiful angel you know in your heart they could become.
Please join us as I list the questions I ask of every character I create.
I recently read Do Not Wash Hands In Plates, by Barb Taub. This isn’t my usual reading, but the strength of Barb’s writing on her blog pushed me over the ledge. I’m so glad it did, because this story is wonderful.
One of the things that impressed me was Barb’s depictions of the people of India. All of us can use help when it comes to our characters, so I invited her over to help us out.
Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone’s shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase…
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Alas, my therapist’s hat often will treat them as clients/patients and put them on the couch so to speak…
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I’m so SO jealous. I wish I had that insight and expertise to know what makes people—and characters—tick!
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You are kind.